C’s Chat – Jake Fishman

Vancouver Canadians Jake Fishman

Jake Fishman earned his first professional victory and save in a C’s uniform in 2017.


cs_chat_logoThe first word that comes to mind when describing the delivery of 2017 Vancouver Canadians lefthander Jake Fishman is funky. In fact, a Google search of ‘funky Fishman’ brings up a 1972 song called ‘Doin’ The Funky Do’ along with a song called ‘Fishman’ on the B-side of the 45 rpm record. The songs are by a band called ‘The Beginning of the End’ and it was definitely the beginning of the end for a majority of the Northwest League hitters who had to step in the batter’s box to face Fishman in 2017.

When I spoke to the 6-foot-3 lefty, I told him his delivery looked like he was bringing down the hammer when he released the ball and he agreed with my characterization.

“I like how you describe it (laughs), definitely slamming down the hammer. I think of it as I kind of like curl into or I kind of condense myself and explode out with a twist. It’s funky and it’s kind of the only thing that comes to my mind when I describe it. Very closed off.”

“I pretty much always thrown like that. I’ve worked with a pitching coach. His name was Tom Landry and he worked with this very well-known guy Tom House. They helped develop my motion into this but it’s based off of the same principles that apply to pretty much every other throwing athlete where you have to land before you can rotate your upper body. That’s really the biggest focus point that I try to stay on with my deliveries. It’s landing with my foot before my upper half rotates around.”

Fishman realizes he gives opposing hitters a very unusual look.

“I love talking to batters that I face just to get some feedback and they always tell me that it’s very hard for them to pick up the ball out of my hand, especially to differentiate between a fastball and slider.”

The Newton, Massachusetts native allowed just an unearned run in his first month with Vancouver after arriving from the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays in early July. Though the Hillsboro Hops laid waste to most of the C’s pitching staff during a five-game sweep at Nat Bailey Stadium in mid-July, Fishman was the lone exception as he spun a career-high four shutout innings of two-hit ball July 15, striking out five and walking nobody. He put up two more scoreless frames against the Hops July 19 to give him five scoreless outings to start his Northwest League career.

Fishman collected his first professional win by striking out five batters over two perfect innings against Salem-Keizer August 14. Only Ryan Kirby put the ball in play against Fishman but the best the eventual league MVP could do was hit a tapper back to the mound. The southpaw would achieve another first in what turned out to be his final appearance in a C’s uniform by getting his first save with three shutout frames on the strength of five groundball outs in Spokane August 19. He was promoted to the Lansing Lugnuts where he would put together a sterling 15-0 strikeout-walk ratio over four appearances to end the season.

Having turned 23 years old on February 8, Fishman and his fellow pitchers will have to adapt to the new pace of play regulations this season throughout minor league baseball. Fellow 2016 draft class teammate T.J. Zeuch made his feelings quite clear about the changes on Twitter but Fishman is taking a wait-and-see approach to it all.

“Yeah (laughs), I saw that (T.J. Zeuch’s tweet). You know, I’m not really sure how I feel about it. I try to look at it from both sides and it’s kind of hard to make assumptions until you actually go through it. The one thing that concerns me is as a reliever, we get that runner. He’s going to be mine to keep from scoring.

It’s hard to say. I think I’m going to reserve any judgements until I can see it in action and I’m actually in the middle of it. My initial thoughts are I’m kind of not in favour of it.

The pitch clock for me, I’m not too concerned about that because I work really quickly on the mound.”

On his off-season preparation.

“My big focus for the off-season was trying to tweak some mechanics and take some stress off my arm and right now everything feels really good. I’m hitting my spots right now, everything’s working so honestly I couldn’t ask for anything more at this point.”

On developing his sinker, slider and changeup.

“I feel really comfortable with my fastball, or my sinker, and slider. The changeup is my third-best pitch so I end up not using it a lot. I do feel comfortable with it but my best pitch is my slider. I’m always wanting to throw that rather than my changeup. I definitely throw some changeups in there when I need to.

The coaches do encourage me as a lefty, funky reliever to master the fastball-slider combination and then any changeups that I might have to throw is a positive but they really want me to focus on the fastball-slider.”

Vancouver Canadians Jake Fishman

Jake Fishman was drafted in the 30th round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2016 after recording the lowest earned run average in all of college baseball at 0.41.


On being the first player drafted out of Division III Union College.

“It meant a lot. It was just all the work that I put in over the past years. It meant a lot, especially to show that somebody who comes out of high school who doesn’t throw very hard and doesn’t get any Division I offers from anywhere can put in a lot of work and then be able to make it to the next level. It really meant a lot in that sense.”

“It was very exciting, especially (being drafted by) the Blue Jays just because their fans are amazing and they’re everywhere. I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited, just overwhelming really.  It’s really incredible. Blue Jays fans are everywhere. Even down in Florida, they’re here watching the spring training games. In Vancouver, they sell out every game. They’re diehard fans.”

On where he was when he was drafted.

“I was actually in the Cape. I was playing (in) the Cape (Cod) League. I was driving home. We had a rain-out so I figured I’d drive home and spend the day with my family. On the way home is when I got the phone call from the Blue Jays scout (Jamie Lehman) who told me that they were about to pick me. About five seconds later, the whole world came crashing down on my cell phone (laughs). It was absolutely amazing and crazy. “

On getting to pitch at the Cape Cod League with the Wareham Gatemen.

“That was definitely a milestone. I was only there for a week and I really only pitched in one game but that one game went really well. That definitely had a big impact on me. It’s funny because after the Cape and I got to the Gulf Coast League and then I got smacked around, my view completely changed. It was like, ‘Wow!’ It’s so much higher a level than even the Cape Cod League and it’s crazy to think that it’s really the best players in the Cape Cod League – that they’re at the next level.”

On whether he had any idea the Blue Jays were going to draft him.

“I did have some interest from other teams. I did not know that the Blue Jays were so focused on me. They had sent me a couple of e-mails but other than that, there wasn’t much conversation between myself and them.”

On what he learned about himself at Union.

“I got a lot of things out of Union College. I think one of the most important things that I took away was having to do everything by myself. What I mean by that is as a Division III program, they don’t force you to do what you need to do to make it to the next level.

It was really up to me to go out and research and figure out what the best people in the country are doing and it has a different effect on you when you do it yourself rather than when you’re being told to do it. That’s carried over into professional baseball where I have a consistent routine and I know exactly what I have to do to continue to get better.”

Vancouver Canadians Jake Fishman

Jake Fishman overcame a tough start at the Gulf Coast League in 2016 by turning in scoreless appearances in four of his last five outings.


On getting his feet wet at the pro level with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays.

“It was interesting. It was a lot different than what I was used to. The Gulf Coast League is incredibly hot. You’re facing kids that are really good. They’re young. I came in thinking, ‘Oh, this should be a breeze!’ Facing 17 year-old kids and then they smack you around and you come to the realization that everybody that’s there is there for a reason and if you give them anything, they will take advantage of you.”

On his off-season preparation heading into 2017.

“To be honest, I didn’t really change too much in my off-season preparation. I work out at a place called Cressy Sports Performance and they have a really good program there. They work with a ton of major leaguers and minor leaguers all across the country and I always stick to what they have and it’s been very successful for me so I stuck to that.

I just came into spring training last year a lot more mentally prepared. I knew exactly what to expect and that really helped me coming into spring training.”

Vancouver Canadians Jake Fishman

Jake Fishman limited lefthanded hitters to a .174 batting average with the C’s in 2017.


On being promoted to Vancouver from the Gulf Coast League.

“I thought it was pretty awesome. I had never been to Canada so I was excited. I had heard amazing things about Vancouver especially. I think it’s probably one of the best places to play baseball in the minor leagues for sure.”

On his fondest memories with the C’s.

“My favourite aspect was how the fans were. They sell out every single game even if it was a 1:00 pm on a Monday. They were just so into it. I loved it.

Aside from that, on the pitching side of things I just remember realizing that if I just hit my spots, most guys will get themselves out. If they get a hit off you, then that’s no big deal. You just go back and continue to hit your spots and that’s what you need to do to be successful.”

On being the only pitcher to enjoy any success during the Hillsboro Horror Show of 2017.

“I remember pretty much everybody else was getting pretty lit up. I just went out there and I remember earlier that day, there was something that I was feeling and I knew that I was going to go out there and pitch really well. I couldn’t tell you what it was. I just had that feeling and that’s what happened. I went out there and all my pitches were working really well and I just felt really good.”

On celebrating the C’s first-half North Division title.

“That was a lot of fun, really exciting. I was just super happy to be a part of the team at that point. Being able to clinch the first half takes so much stress off of the second half. You can just go out there and play ball and not have to worry about anything.”

Vancouver Canadians Jake Fishman

Jake Fishman left Vancouver with a 1.17 earned run average and compiled a 23-4 strikeout/walk total in 23 innings.


On being promoted to Lansing.

“We were all in the locker room after a game and our manager Millsy (Rich Miller) came in. We already knew one guy was going up to Lansing. It was Dalton Rodriguez and (Miller) said, ‘(Rodriguez) will probably need some bodyguards on the way up there so Jake Fishman and Chris Hall, you guys are going to go with him.’:

On striking out seven batters in two innings for the Lugnuts versus Fort Wayne August 26.

“Yeah, that was crazy. I just remember it seemed like every batter I was facing would get me to a 2-2 or 3-2 count and I kept hitting the same spot that was up and in to a righty and the umpire just kept giving it to me. They were strikes but it was a two-seam that kept tailing away from a righty and it would catch the corner. That probably happened about four or five times and that’s kind of where all the strikeouts came from.”

Vancouver Canadians Jake Fishman

Jake Fishman had a ground ball rate of over 54 percent with the C’s in 2017 according to FanGraphs.


On keeping tabs on his Vancouver teammates late in the season.

“I was following them every game of the way. When you have such close friends on the team, you’re always interested on how they’re doing, whether they win a championship or not.

Bittersweet is a good way to describe it. It would be amazing to go and win a championship with that team but at the same time, a promotion is always good so I can’t really complain about it.”

On starting versus relieving.

“I love starting. I was a starter in college but I would like to do whatever the Blue Jays have in store for me. I like relieving. Eventually my goal is to become a starter but if they want to keep me in the pen as a multi-inning guy or even just a set-up guy, that’s totally fine with me as long as I’m out there being able to pitch.”

On being named to the roster for Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

“That was super cool. I was put on the roster. I didn’t get to go to the semi-final or wherever they went to Japan but it was cool. I got the opportunity just to even be on the roster. The manager (Jerry Weinstein – his manager at Wareham) gave me a call a couple of days before they started games in Japan and he told me that I might need to fly out to Japan and join the team. At that point, I was ecstatic that he would even consider having me go there even though I was just on the extra reserves. Overall, a really cool experience.”

On his goals for 2018.

“I try not to think about where I’m going to end up. I just want to go out there and pitch as well as I can. Most likely I’ll start in Lansing and if that happens, then it would be great to finish in Dunedin. If not, I really want to have a consistent year. My goal is not let up a single run but that’s hard to do and you can’t always do that but that’s what I shoot for every year so we’ll see if we can do it this year.”

Fishman is off to a good start in that regard as he made his 2018 debut on Saturday with one inning of one-hit ball and a strikeout in Dunedin’s 6-1 victory over Clearwater.

My thanks again to Jake Fishman for riding to the rescue out of the bullpen cart in this edition of C’s Chat. You can follow him on Twitter @swedishfishman1.

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Vancouver Canadians Show Support For Humboldt Broncos

Bronco logo eps

The Vancouver Canadians organization are among many of those in the sports world that have sent their condolences to those affected in the Humboldt tragedy  Toronto Blue Jays pitcher and 2012 C’s pitcher Marcus Stroman tweeted his support in the wake of the accident that killed 15 people on the bus of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey club in Saskatchewan.

ICYMI a classy move by the @rangers today’s game vs #BlueJays.#Repost @bluejays
• • •
We are all with you, Humboldt. 💙#PrayForHumboldt pic.twitter.com/gIyo6XWtRV

— Vancouver Canadians (@vancanadians) April 8, 2018

C’s broadcaster Rob Fai also sent along his best wishes to those trying to cope with this tragedy.

Canadians stadium clubhouse attendant Johnny Stewart had this to say.

2014-2015 C’s teammates Gunnar Heidt and Andrew Case also tweeted their support.

Having been a play-by-play broadcaster in hockey and riding the buses in Northern Ontario over 20 years ago, I have a lot of fond memories from those trips in the iron lung. It was a chance to bond with players, coaches, trainers and parents through sharing stories and life experiences, telling jokes and watching movies.

What really shook me to the core was hearing the Broncos radio play-by-play announcer Tyler Bieber was among those killed in the crash. He was only 29 years old. I was in my 20’s when I began my play-by-play career.

My deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers to those affected by this tragedy.

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C’s Alumni Report – 2017 Northwest League Champions Make Opening Day Impact In 2018

Reggie Pruitt, Chavez Young and Kevin Vicuna teamed up to produce nine hits in the Lansing Lugnuts Opening Day win in Great Lakes.


cs_alumni_updateA number of players from the 2017 Northwest League champion Vancouver Canadians had an Opening Day to remember with their 2018 clubs.

The speedy trio of center fielder Reggie Pruitt, right fielder Chavez Young and shortstop Kevin Vicuna had three hits apiece to spark the Lansing Lugnuts to a 12-1 thrashing of the Great Lakes Loons at Dow Diamond Thursday afternoon. Pruitt had three runs batted in and Young contributed an RBI double as the eight and nine hitters in the Lugnuts lineup. Vicuna scored three times while knocking home a pair as the number two hitter in the order, a spot the Venezuelan was familiar with in Vancouver after spending 139 of his 189 at-bats there.

Second baseman Samad Taylor had a single and a walk out of the leadoff spot while first baseman Kacy Clemens doubled, walked twice and drove in three runs as the number-three hitter.

Righthanders Donnie Sellers and Kyle Weatherly covered off the final two innings out of the Lugnuts bullpen. Sellers surrendered the only run in the eighth on a hit and a walk but he did strike out a pair. Weatherly needed just 13 pitchers to retire the side in a perfect ninth.

2016 C’s first baseman Christian Williams had a walk and scored a run while righthander Andy Ravel stranded a runner by retiring the only hitter he faced on a groundout.

Riley Adams knocked home a pair of runs and Logan Warmoth singled and sole a base in their Florida State League debuts.


Four other members of the 2017 C’s were instrumental in helping the Dunedin Blue Jays defeat the Clearwater Threshers 5-4 at Spectrum Field. Catcher Riley Adams drove in a run with a double as part of a two-RBI night while shortstop Logan Warmoth singled in his first Florida State League at-bat and later stole a base.

Righthander Justin Dillon and lefthander Travis Bergen supported 2016 C’s righty T.J. Zeuch‘s solid six-inning effort by earning holds. Dillon walked just one batter in 1-1/3 scoreless innings while Bergen struck out the only two hitters he faced to end the eighth.

C-Notes

C's Notes2016 outfielder Josh Palacios had a big game out of the leadoff spot for Dunedin on Opening Day by going 2-for-3 with two walks, a stolen base and a run scored while 2016 first baseman Nash Knight socked Dunedin’s first home run of the season. Palacios added two more hits during Dunedin’s 8-0 loss to Clearwater Friday.

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The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are off to a 2-0 start thanks to the contributions of 2016 second baseman Cavan Biggio. The son of Craig had a double and a bunt RBI single in the Fisher Cats 6-0 victory over the Hartford Yard Goats at Dunkin’ Donuts Park Thursday. He then followed with a pair of doubles Friday with his extra-base hit in the 11th inning plating the eventual winning run in New Hampshire’s 4-3 win.

2015 first baseman Connor Panas was 2-for-4 on Opening Day and had another base hit on Friday.

On the pitching side, 2015 righthander Francisco Rios supplied four shutout innings of four-hit ball with five strikeouts on Opening Day while 2014 righty Justin Shafer got the win with 1-1/3 shutout frames of two-hit ball that was offset by three strikeouts. 2014 lefty Jose Fernandez also supplied 1-1/3 scoreless innings that featured a walk and a strikeout.

Friday saw 2015 lefty Danny Young spin a couple of goose eggs on the linescore while 2014-2015 righty Andrew Case chipped in with one of his own. 2016 righty Zach Jackson walked a pair but struck out five over two shutout innings for his first Double-A victory. Conor Fisk (2015) struck out one in a one-hit ninth to pick up the save.

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C’s Chat – Chris Hall

Vancouver Canadians Chris Hall

Chris Hall made 20 appearances out of the Vancouver bullpen and went 1-0 with a 1.49 earned run average and a save in 2017.


cs_chat_logoThe minor league baseball season is about to get underway and 2017 Vancouver Canadians pitcher Chris Hall was expected to take another big step towards a career in the bigs after a successful season north of the border. The 24 year-old may still reach his destination of pitching in the majors but he’ll have to do it with another organization after the Toronto Blue Jays surprisingly released him April 2.

The 6-foot-2 righthander was drafted by the Blue Jays just two years ago in the 14th round out of Elon University in North Carolina and received a $70,000 signing bonus. Hall had just taken up pitching with the Phoenix after joining them as a catcher. He made tremendous strides on the mound during his three seasons in Elon and was named a 1st team Colonial Athletic Association All-Star in 2016. He earned that honour after saving 10 games and recording a 2.93 earned run average over 30-2/3 innings in which he struck out 27 batters and walked eight.

The Winnetka, Illinois native reported to Bluefield for his first exposure of pro ball in which he finished with a flourish by not allowing an earned run in seven of his last eight outings. That resulted in a 3-0 record with a 2.40 ERA over 30 innings in which he posted a 21-8 K/BB total.

Hall got his first taste of full-season ball in Lansing to begin 2017 but he struggled by allowing three home runs over four appearances in April in which he went 1-2 with a 13.50 ERA. He would resurface with Vancouver and become a huge part of the C’s bullpen that would help them clinch the first-half North Division title. Hall got another crack at Lansing in late August and pitched four shutout innings over two appearances to end his year on a high note.

This edition of C’s Chat with Hall took place during spring training around the time Minor League Baseball announced its pace of play rules for the 2018 season.

“The coaches have kind of talked about the pace of play, trying to pick up the tempo. I think it’s 20 seconds between pitches. They’re just kind of making sure that we have good tempo after we receive the ball back, get back on the mound, still take our time and not rushing things but just kind of getting used to that, that 20 seconds.”

On having to deal with a runner at second base to start each extra half-inning.

“It’s going to be interesting seeing that for the first time. I don’t know, I’m not too big of a fan of it. It will affect the relievers and it’s going to put a lot of pressure on that reliever with that runner on and nobody out to start the inning. We’ll see how it goes though. Maybe it’ll be better than we think.

I don’t think we will do anything to prepare for that. I don’t know if we’ll start any games with a guy on second for an inning or something but it’s something that we’re going to have to get used to and adjust to that.”

On the transition going from behind the plate to the mound in college.

“I was a catcher my entire life. I think I had one inning in high school but I caught up until my junior year in college and switched about halfway and got a few innings that junior year, I think it was like 10 or something (Editor’s Note – 10-2/3 innings). Then my senior year, I was a full-time pitcher.

I started to struggle hitting so it was kind of an easy switch there. We had a really good catcher at the time and he was the guy that need to play for our team to be the best that we could and I was more than happy to help out the team any way I could and that was pitching. I was just happy to be out on the field. I don’t think I’d be able to hit some of these guys in pro ball (laughs).”

On when he started feeling comfortable as a pitcher.

“That junior year, those couple innings was up and down but I think my senior year, I think what was the biggest success for me was I wasn’t over thinking things. I was just going out there and throwing the ball. Maybe it was because I was so naïve, I didn’t know, I wasn’t too aware of the other stuff that you got to think about as a pitcher. I was just went out on the mound and just threw it as hard as I could.”

On assuming the closer’s role in college.

“It definitely makes it a lot more fun playing with all that pressure late in the game in the ninth inning. Sometimes it was a little frustrating when you don’t—when sometimes closers don’t get to pitch for a couple of days but I love the pressure situations of pitching.”

Vancouver Canadians Chris Hall

Chris Hall limited Northwest League hitters to a .200 batting average with righties hitting just .184 against him.


On being drafted by the Blue Jays.

“I had some interest throughout the season and after the year was over, I had two tryouts that I went to or two workouts. I wasn’t really told any specific round of where people thought I was going to go. I just kind of sat around after the 10th round and I was at home with my dad, brother and grandpa. We were all there and getting to see my name on that computer, to hear my name heard was an awesome experience and I was glad I got to share that with all of them.”

On the scout who had signed him.

“It was the Carolina scout Chris Kline. He was the one that had been scouting me and he was the one that he called me in the 12th or 13th round I think and told me that (the Blue Jays) were going to be taking me in the 14th so that was awesome.”

On his first professional season in Bluefield.

“I didn’t know what to expect but I think the coaching staff there was a great coaching staff for my first year. Dennis Holmberg the manager, Tony (Antonio Caceras) the pitching coach, they did an unbelievable job of acclimating us to the pro life and kind of instilling those core values that you need to know early on to just be a professional but they also made it fun for us every day. Dennis Holmberg always had something going on.

“I think it took me maybe two or three weeks just to kind of be completely comfortable. You’re meeting all these new guys you don’t really know in a new area and a new team so it wasn’t a quick adjustment for me but I eventually got comfortable playing there and found some success.”

On being teammates with talented prospects in Bluefield such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They’re on a whole other level. Vladdy, it was awesome to watch him play, a great guy to have at third base for you. Other guys like Bradley Jones, it was fun watching that year he had and our pitching staff was awesome to watch as well.”

On his bumpy introduction to full-season ball in Lansing in 2017.

“I started in extended (spring training) and I started getting on a roll and I was putting together some good outings and got called up to Lansing. I wasn’t really aggressive, I was a little hesitant, I wasn’t really comfortable there right away and I struggled in those two outings I had. Looking back at it now, I’m kind of glad I did struggle. It was a good way to learn what not to do and I learned from that and was able to be a kind of more aggressive pitcher and took that to Vancouver and had a really good year.”

On his first victory with the C’s when he pitched a career-high 4-1/3 innings against the Spokane Indians at Nat Bailey Stadium July 13.

“I think I had a little adrenaline helping me with that crowd there but I remember that outing. I’m pretty sure that was the first pitch I gave up a pretty long home run there. (Andretty Cordero) took it out of the entire stadium above the Hey Y’all Porch. I was just glad I could get right back to it after that and be able to help the team out by going four innings.”

Vancouver Canadians Chris Hall

Chris Hall struck out 42 batters and had a WHIP of 1.04 over 36-1/3 innings with the C’s in 2017.


On being part of a first-half championship winner.

“That was awesome. Our team was pretty close from the start but it was fun to see everybody celebrate for the goal we were all trying to accomplish. It was unbelievable. That was the first champagne shower I ever had. That was pretty fun.”

On his first save with the C’s against Tri-City July 29.

“I remember there were guys on second and third. I think I had thrown two wild pitches to get them to second and third. I just remember like, ‘Crap, man! I got to lock it in here!’ I saw (pitching coach Jim) Czajkowski wasn’t coming out to the mound. No one was warming up in the bullpen so it was my game to win or lose. I just kind of buckled down and got after it. It was a fun one, yeah. Just making it exciting for all the fans.”

Vancouver Canadians Chris Hall

Chris Hall enjoyed working with C’s pitching coach Jim Czajkowski (right) in 2017.


On working with Jim Czajkowski.

“It was awesome. He got to know us all on a personal level. He’d have conversations with us during the (pre-game) stretch and throwing and stuff, he’d joke around with us but when it was time to work, he was all business. He did a great job with each and every pitcher individually on what they needed to work on. He was an awesome pitching coach to have.”

On why he had a successful season in Vancouver.

“I think it was partly because of the time in Lansing. I was struggling and I just kind of went out there and just went back to my old college mentality and just kind of challenged each hitter and tried to make them beat me.

Another thing was the success of the (Vancouver) bullpen. I think we all had the mentality of we’d see one guy do really well. We’d see (William) Ouellette or (Orlando) Pascual or (Brayden) Bouchey go out there and have a good outing. If you were the guy that followed up next, you wanted to do just as well as them if not better.”

On being called back up to Lansing in late August.

“At first, I was excited. I wanted to kind of redeem myself after my first two outings. I was definitely excited at first but in the back of my head, I was still a little bummed out that I’d be missing the playoff experience. I knew that team was going to win. It was fun listening to them but it was also good that I got to head back there and prove myself in Lansing. It’s always nice to end the year on a high note and feel good going into the off-season.”

chris_hall_looks_in.jpg

Chris Hall did not allow an earned run over 10-2/3 innings in August with Vancouver.


On his pitching repertoire.

“It’s fastball, curveball, change-up now. The slider wasn’t working the way I liked it to and this off-season, I started really focusing on the breaking ball and found some success and I brought it here (to spring training) and it seems to be working out for me now so I think I’m going to keep it.

It’s not a 12-to-6 (curveball), maybe more a 2-to-7, something like that. It’s got a little more lateral movement but there’s still some depth on it.”

On why he scrapped his slider. 

(The slider), I just wasn’t able to throw it for a strike early in the count and that’s something I’ve learned talking to older guys. You need to be able to throw breaking balls early in the count or when you’re behind in the count sometimes just to keep (hitters) off your fastball. I needed to find something that I could feel comfortable with throwing in different situations, not just a two-strike pitch.”

On his fastball usage.

“Right now, I’m just sticking with the four-seam. I had some success with it. Every once in a while, I’ll see how a two-seam feels but I haven’t really found the right grip yet but that’s still something I’m still working on.”

On how he describes his change-up.

“I don’t know what you’d call it. I hold it like a two-seam but with a changeup grip. I found a little bit of success with it. It’s still not where I like it to be but it’s not bad for a third pitch.”

On his off-season preparation and goals for 2018.

“The biggest thing was strength in my lower half, my lower body. I was trying to get strong there but also maintain some flexibility. Those were two big things and then obviously the curveball was a big learning point in the off-season.

My main goal is to break with a full-season team and then continue with what I’ve been working on in spring training and just try to keep it going.”

My thanks again to Chris Hall for appearing with me on C’s Chat. I wish him the best of luck in finding another organization to give him a chance to reach the majors. His body of work so far in his first two professional seasons should earn him that opportunity in 2018 sooner or later.

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C’s Alumni Update – Pearson, Warmoth & Adams To Begin 2018 In Dunedin

Vancouver Canadians Nate Pearson

Nate Pearson will need to stay hydrated in 2018 as he will be pitching in Dunedin to begin the season.


cs_alumni_updateThe three 2017 Vancouver Canadians rated among the Top 20 prospects in the Toronto Blue Jays system by Baseball America will be together again. The trio of righthander Nate Pearson, shortstop Logan Warmoth and catcher Riley Adams will skip Lansing and get their full-season debut with the defending Florida State League co-champion Dunedin Blue Jays.


There was much speculation that the 2017 first-round duo Pearson and Warmoth would begin this year in the Sunshine State but there was not quite as much buzz around Adams as some had thought he would only move up to Lansing. All three had strong seasons with Vancouver last season with Pearson dominating Northwest League hitters and Warmoth showing a solid bat and improving defensive skills at short. Adams was praised by Jays officials for his leadership in the clubhouse and displayed a potent bat and improving but unrefined skills behind the plate.

Pearson will look to increase his innings count in Dunedin and improve his off-speed offerings to complement his 100-MPH fastball. Warmoth and Pearson will look to keep their heads above water in the pitching-friendly Florida State League ballparks.

Vancouver Canadians Riley Adams

Riley Adams will be bringing his catching gear to Dunedin to begin 2018.


Also joining the Dunedin roster from the 2017 Northwest League champion C’s are lefthanders Travis Bergen and Juliandry Higuera and righthanders Justin Dillon and William Ouellette, the Northwest League saves leader.

Among 11 other D-Jays with Canadians ties include righthanders T.J. Zeuch (2016), Josh DeGraaf (2015) , Nick Hartman (2016), Jackson McClelland (2015-2016), Patrick Murphy (2016) and lefthander Tayler Saucedo (2015). Justin Maese (2016) was hoping to join the staff but he will miss the season with a shoulder injury.

2016 C’s shortstop Yeltsin Gudino and first baseman Nash Knight (2016) are part of the Dunedin infield while D.J. Davis (2012), Rodrigo Orozco (2015-2016) and Josh Palacios make up three-fifths of the D-Jays outfield rotation.

Vancouver Canadians Reggie Pruitt Logan Warmoth

Reggie Pruitt (left) will start the 2018 season in Lansing while Logan Warmoth (right) will suit up for Dunedin.


The Lansing Lugnuts will have 15 members of the 2017 C’s championship squad on its roster, starting with a pitching staff featuring lefthanders Zach Logue and Brody Rodning and righthanders Dany JimenezOrlando Pascual, Donnie SellersGraham Spraker and Kyle Weatherly.

2017 C’s catcher Matt Morgan will be behind the dish with Kacy Clemens at first base and the trio of Cullen Large, Samad Taylor and Kevin Vicuna handling middle infield chores. The triumvirate of Reggie Pruitt, Chavez Young and Brock Lundquist will be together again in the outfield. The Lugnut hitters will be looked after by 2011-2017 C’s hitting coach Dave Pano.

Two members of the 2016 Vancouver Canadians are back again in Lansing with righthander Andy Ravel and first baseman Christian Williams.

Moving up to New Hampshire, former C’s manager John Schneider (2011, 2014-2015) will be the skipper of the Fisher Cats and will be joined by 2013 infielder Andy Fermin as a position coach.

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2015 C’s righthander Jon Harris will pitch again in New Hampshire to begin in 2018.


Saint John, New Brunswick native Andrew Case (2014-2015) and fellow righties Jon Harris (2015), Sean Reid-Foley (2014) and Zach Jackson (2016) highlight nine former C’s moundsmen on the Fisher Cats. They team up with righties Conor Fisk (2015) Francisco Rios (2015) and Justin Shafer (2014) and lefties Jose Fernandez (2014) and Danny Young (2015). Unfortunately, 2013 playoff hero Tom Robson (2013 & 2015) begins the year on the disabled list. According to FutureBlueJays.com, Robson is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery.

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2016 C’s second baseman Cavan Biggio will be a part of a legacy infield with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette in New Hampshire.


Catcher Max Pentecost (2014) , second baseman Cavan Biggio (2016), infielder Gunnar Heidt (2014-2015) and Juan Kelly (2015) will take the field with outfielders Jonathan Davis (2014), Andrew Guillotte (2015) and Toronto native Connor Panas (2015) to round out the seven Vancouver connections on the position player side.

As for the Buffalo Bisons roster, 2014-2015 Vancouver lefty Ryan Borucki—who many observers believe is on the cusp of appearing in a Blue Jays uniform at some point in 2018—is among four former C’s hurlers on the Herd’s pitching roster. The others joining Borucki are southpaws Matt Dermody (2013) and Tim Mayza (2014) and northpaw Carlos Ramirez (2012). Dermody had been designated for assignment recently but has returned to the Jays nest.

2011 infielder Jon Berti, 2012-2013 infielder Jason Leblebijian and 2014 first baseman Rowdy Tellez are back for another turn in Buffalo. 2014 shortstop Richard Urena begins the year with an intercostal muscle strain on the disabled list with an intercostal muscle strain.

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2014 C’s outfielder Roemon Fields will be back in Buffalo to begin his 2018 campaign.


Former C’s outfielders back with the Herd again are Bisons 2017 MVP Roemon Fields (2014), Ian Parmley (2012-2013) and Dwight Smith Jr. (2012).

If my math is correct, 62 former C’s (64 if you include the disabled Robson and Maese) are on the four full-season rosters along with three coaches who are connected to Vancouver.

There are some names not accounted for from the C’s 2017 roster. They have either been assigned to Extended Spring Training, placed on the disabled list or released. JaysFromTheCouch.com tweeted that 2017 righthanders Chris Hall and Bobby Eveld along with 2013 lefthander Shane Dawson were given their walking papers by the Jays Monday. I certainly wish that trio—who helped contribute to the Northwest League champions in those seasons—the very best in their future endeavours, baseball or otherwise.

Other members of the 2017 C’s no longer with the organization include lefthander Miguel Burgos and first baseman Francisco Rodriguez as they were released. Catcher Cam O’Brien announced his retirement early in the new year according to his MiLB.com player page. Infielder/outfielder Mattingly Romanin was also let go by Toronto in the late stages of spring training. Again, my best wishes to those players and a thank you for their contributions to last year’s championship title.

C-Notes

C's NotesLooking back at 2018 Spring Training for the Blue Jays, a combined 43 position players and pitchers who wore the Vancouver Canadians uniforms saw Grapefruit League Action.

Here is a quick statistical breakdown of how each player did beginning with the 27 position players.

  • Jason Leblebijian 50 AB, .742 OPS, 1 HR, 3 SB
  • Roemon Fields 48 AB, .978 OPS, 1 HR 3 SB
  • Kevin Pillar 48 AB, 1.128 OPS, 2 HR, 5 2B
  • Richard Urena 29 AB, .441 OPS, 1 SB
  • Jonathan Davis 27 AB, .767 OPS, 1 HR
  • Max Pentecost 22 AB, .336 OPS, 2 RBI, 1 SB
  • Dwight Smith Jr. 20 AB, .854 OPS, 2 HR, 6 RBI
  • Andrew Guillotte 19 AB, .496 OPS, 3 RBI, 1 SB
  • Dalton Pompey 18 AB, .541 OPS, 2 SB
  • Nash Knight 11 AB, .697 OPS
  • Jon Berti 10 AB, .800 OPS, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB
  • Cavan Biggio 7 AB, 1.143 OPS, 1 3B
  • Kacy Clemens 6 AB, .000 OPS, 1 RBI
  • Gunnar Heidt 6 AB, .143 OPS
  • Rowdy Tellez 5 AB, .400 OPS
  • Yeltsin Gudino 4 AB, 1.250 OPS, 1 2B
  • Christian Williams 4 AB, 1.750 OPS, 1 HR, 3 RBI
  • Reggie Pruitt 3 AB, .667 OPS
  • Riley Adams 2 AB, .000 OPS
  • D.J. Davis 2 AB, 1.500 OPS, 1 2B, 2 RBI
  • Juan Kelly 2 AB, .000 OPS
  • Matt Morgan 2 AB, .000 OPS
  • Josh Palacios 2 AB, 1.500 OPS, 1 2B, 1 RBI
  • Connor Panas 2 AB, .000 OPS
  • Kevin Vicuna 2 AB, 1.500 OPS, 1 2B, 2 R
  • Michael De La Cruz (2014) 1 AB, .000 OPS
  • Ian Parmley 1 AB, .000 OPS

And here’s a look at how the 16 pitchers with C’s ties fared.

  • Jose Fernandez 6.1 IP 1 SV 0.00 ERA
  • Danny Young 1.0 IP 0.00 ERA
  • Roberto Osuna 1-0, 1.23 ERA, 8-0 K/BB, 7.1IP
  • Tim Mayza 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 10.0IP, 9-2 K/BB
  • Justin Shafer 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 5.1 IP
  • Aaron Sanchez 2-2, 3.06 ERA, 17.2 IP, 16-2 K/BB
  • Andrew Case 1-0, 3.38 ERA, 5.1 IP, 4-1 K/BB
  • Jon Harris 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 4.0 IP
  • Ryan Borucki 0-1, 9.39 ERA, 7.2 IP
  • Matt Dermody 0-1, 10.29 ERA, 7.0 IP, 6-1 K/BB
  • Conor Fisk 0-1, 10.80 ERA, 1.2 IP
  • Sean Reid-Foley 0-1, 10.80 ERA, 5.0 IP
  • Carlos Ramirez 0-1, 15.00 ERA, 3.0 IP
  • Jackson McClelland 0-0, 27.00 ERA, 0.2 IP
  • William Ouellette 0-0, 27.00 ERA, 0.1 IP
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